A recent promotion on the Sewing Quarter featured two bags by Mrs H. The first was the Squiffy Sling bag and the second the Companion Carpet Bag.
A while ago I purchased a paper copy of the latter as part of a gift to a friend but now having seen the frame bag made by Adrienne, I decided to purchase a second (pdf) copy of that pattern for myself. Whilst browsing the website and reviewing the feature on SQ I was intrigued by the Squiffy Bag and so purchased that pattern as well.
The Bag is described thus:-
Overview: Although the Squiffy Sling pattern is designed for beginners, the clever construction of this cross-body bag makes it an interesting sew with a quirky finished bag perfect for everyday use. The Squiffy Sling was designed for the Winter 2017 Bag Retreat with Mrs H.
Dimensions:Small: 8” x9” x 3”, Large: 10” x 11” x 4”
As this bag involves some ‘new to me’ construction methods, I decided to make the first bag in the smaller size. I used some of the fabric that came as part of a kit for making padded covers for Lever Arch files.
The fabrics are 100% cotton with one featuring a print of gardening motifs plus a coordinating plain in a lovely Terracotta colourway. I selected brass hardware from my stash and printed off the pattern and instructions. To ensure that I made no ‘newbie’ errors, not only did I read through all the instructions, I re-visited the tutorial and also took advice from a friend who had already made the Squiffy Sling bag.
The first task was to apply a fusible interfacing on the outer fabric, the contrast panel, the lining and the two pocket pieces. I also applied headliner* wadding to the outer bag. Usually when making a bag, one tries to keep everything straight and symmetrical but the charm of this particular bag is that it is ‘squiffy’!
I completed the window zip insertion for one pocket and made the slip pocket using some of the print fabric. A slight change was that I stitched a dividing line of on the slip pocket so that my mobile phone, notebook and pen would sit tightly in the pocket.
A new method of construction for me was to leave the bottom part of the zip pocket open to facilitate the bagging out of the bag. In the past I have always turned bags through an opening in the base of the lining, or slipped the lining inside the outer (wrong sides together) before stitching together at the top.
I particularly liked the fact that the lining has a separate pattern which is deliberately drafted slightly smaller than the outer thus ensuring a snug fit with no excess bagginess in the lining.
The construction of the strap was also new to me. For this bag you need only one rectangle (or D ring) plus a slider so that the strap can be adjusted in length. I shall certainly use this method again on future bags. The only slight hiccup that I had was ensuring the correct placement of the magnetic snap but by folding the flat fabric pieces over I was able to mark the placement and will now know for future makes of the bag.
Stitching all around the outer and lining before bagging out through the zip pocket was an ‘interesting’ experience but it did work well after a short tussle. Next time I will use a longer zip so that it is not such a squeeze!
I am delighted with the bag which has turned out well, and is just the right size. I have learned a lot and am already planning the next iteration before progressing to the Companion Carpet Bag.
*Headliner is a foam backed material used instead of Bosal in-R-form